"The information is kind of spread out. In each evacuation camp, they improvise their own lists," said Hiromasa Kato, an assistant professor of engineering, who was staying in a shelter in Sendai. "You might think of Japan as very high-tech, but these local administrations use very outdated systems."
For many seeking their loved ones, things could take a turn for the worse.
A few blocks from Natori City Hall, a center to handle corpses has been set up on the grounds of a sports training hall. About 110 bodies have been recovered, including those of three children, said Bin Kimura, the operations head. Twenty have been positively identified and their names placed on the deceased board at the center.